Friday, October 24, 2014

The importance of dates

Dates are not one of the most common or popular fruits, but perhaps they should be.  They're loaded with vitamins and minerals, they're low in fat and high in protein and fiber.  They aid in digestion, they improve heart health, and they're rich in antioxidents.  But mostly, they have this wonderful sweetness to them.  It feels like you're eating candy, except it's healthier.

Every now and then.. you get a hankering for a certain food.  That happened to me last week, and I brought home a small container of dates.  As I unpacked the groceries, hubby noticed the dates and his eyes lit up. (Well, not literally - it's not as if he's a jack-o-lantern... I just mean he looked happy)  "I've been thinking about dates," he said.  "I'm glad you got them."  Hmmm... maybe it's something in the air.

Dates are used for lots of purposes... they're eaten plain, dried, chopped, used in cooking, added to salads, and used to make syrup, vinegar, and even alcohol.   In Spain, they're traditionally stuffed with almonds, wrapped in bacon, and then shallow fried.  In some parts of the world, they make a thick viscous syrup from dates and use it to coat leather bags to prevent leaking.  Hmmmm --  I think I'll still stick to eating them plain.
But the bottom line is that this little piece of fruit packs a tremendous amount of nutritional value, and is something that all of us should consider adding to our diets.

Oh? What's that you say?  You didn't think I meant that kind of date?
Ahh, I see your point. 
Well, I don't like to disappoint, so I'll shift gears.

Dates are a very important form of socializing.  Although I've been married over 30 years  (and have therefore not gone on a date in a very long time), I always like to hear about my nieces and nephews going on dates - especially when they first start dating.  It's exciting, it's scary, it's wonderful, it's torture... all at the same time!  It's a wonderful opportunity to learn how to interact with people in a setting that's not family, and that's not a large group.  

Dating came about around the early 1700s.  Arranged marriages were out, courtship and dating were in.  But at least today, dating is far more than finding a suitable mate, dating is often an informal social activity which can lead to platonic friendships.

Well, there you go.  Dating might not be my usual sort of topic for Teapot Musings, but you asked for it, so there you are.

And now, to my tea.

What?  You say that's STILL not what you expected?
You thought I was going to talk about calendar dates?  Well that's a bit silly, isn't it.  In the past I've  posted some things about specific dates  (Middle Child DayHot Tea MonthMother's Day), and I've previously posted that It's just a date, pointing out why the specific date doesn't matter.  I assumed you'd had enough of that.  But hey, if that's what you want, that's what you'll get.  

Today, October 24th, is National Bologna Day.  

Nope, not very important.  But I hope you're happy.

And finally, my tea.